LEGO Dimensions is the ultimate mash-up of many of the biggest and best box-office successes over the years, with a sprinkling of televisual hits to boot.
There’s Batman, The LEGO Movie, The Lord Of The Rings, The Simpsons, The Wizard Of Oz, Back To The Future, Doctor Who, Superman, Ghostbusters, and so many more. And unlike so many movie-to-videogame tie-ins over the years, LEGO Dimensions works!
The game begins with Robin getting sucked into the vortex while he’s with Batman, then Frodo – the young lad with his ring issues, right in front of Gandalf, then Metalbeard, who’s with his fellow LEGO Movie star, Wildstyle.
Following this, the LEGO Dimensions Gateway (think ‘Stargate’) explodes after Batman, Gandalf and Wildstyle are sent through, and you have to rebuild it. Building LEGO within a game is one thing, but this title will also expect you to put in the legwork (or finger-work) of constructing the Gateway for real. Yes, you see that big circular thing on the box? You DO have to build that. Well, technically the game won’t realise if you haven’t, but if you don’t get into the spirit of things then you haven’t got the LEGO habit, have you?
As you go through the levels you have to work out who’s best to combat the problems ahead. Sometimes Batman might have to get out his Batarang and throw it at the right places of an enemy; sometimes it’s Gandalf casting one of his spells, and so on. Yes, to the uninitiated, it can seem rather much-of-a-muchness, but if you’re into the characters and the individual fillms, each of these will feel unique. You can also drive the Batmobile through certain areas to get past, such as the purple poison ivy on the Yellow Brick Road, early on, with the car also transforming (no, not in that way) into vehicles more suitable for the other two leads.
Beyond the first world of The Wizard Of Oz, you can then continue the story in each of the worlds inhabited by other characters, and/or go through to bonus worlds, via the Vorton World ‘hub’ in the order you choose, so that helps stopping this being linear. However, a number of these require additional characters to be purchased before you enter those which is a pain. And with other elements in the worlds that you *can* access often requiring the help of characters you don’t have, it seems that to get the most out of LEGO Dimensions, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money, so that’s something to bear in mind.
With gloriously colourful graphcs that play as smooth as a greased sausage, plus some occasional neat ambient split-surround effects, all the worlds have great, destructible environments, and you can collect points from the umpteen LEGO parts you find around the levels, and use them to upgrade the Batmobile, buy red bricks to unlock extras, restore or build items within each bonus world, as requested by the inhabitants of those worlds, but it does feel like they’re all game for a handout and you’re the only Sugar Daddy in town!
And at times, the characters come out with an appropriate saying, eg.
- Gandalf: “This would be a fine story for Bilbo’s little book”
Batman: “The tool for this is in my *other* Batsuit!”
Between the initial three, Batman’s my favourite character out of these three, and then Gandalf. Wyldstyle just doesn’t seem to have as much to do by comparison.
In addition, the number of voices featured in this game is phenomenal: Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Lloyd, Michael J Fox, Peter Capaldi, plus some archive sound like Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee as the second and third Doctors respectively, but there’s also some more recent characters from cast members who *are* still alive, but only archive sound has been used rather than new, such as Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson and almost all of the Doctors from Doctor Who. Okay, not all of the actors will be available, and I’m very much a perfectionist so… it’s a difficult one to call.
However, it was disappointing that Ian McKellen wasn’t brought in for Gandalf. Tom Kane does a good ‘Gandalf’, but since he’s one of the main three initial characters it would’ve been great to have the one and only in the hot seat.
Oh, and there is something up with the graphics output that isn’t affecting gameplay but I do want to try and get sorted out – when playing this game (but not any other games, nor when in the PS3’s main menu), I get a hazy look on my TV screen. I know it doesn’t affect any footage I recorded of myself playing the game (badly) but there’s definitely an issue there. Is it some sort of feedback from having the LEGO Toypad plugged into the PS3? If anyone reading this, including Warner Bros, know the reason, and a possible solution, please let me know.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game plus conclusions.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.